FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots players could talk about the soaking rain after they beat the Buffalo Bills. If they had lost, the rain would not have been mentioned for fear it would have been used as an excuse.

“It was a slosh out there,” said Matthew Slater, the special-teams captain. “We were playing soaked and that required a lot of mental toughness. It wasn’t easy to go out and execute but we did that. Obviously you tip the hat to the big fella (LeGarrette Blount).”

Ryan Allen, the Patriots’ punter, held the ball for place-kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who had four field goals and two point-after-touchdowns. “It could have been colder, it could have been windier, but the rain was consistent throughout the whole time, so after the first couple of snaps in warm-up you got a good feel for it.”

Danny Amendola, the Patriots’ receiver, didn’t think he had ever played in so much rain.

“It was wet,” he said. “It’s hard to throw the ball in the rain. As a receiver it’s really hard to play well in the rain. You’ve just got to do your best and catch it.”

JULIAN EDELMAN, the former quarterback, caught nine passes from Tom Brady to give him 105 for the year. Only Wes Walker and Troy Brown had caught more than 100 passes in a season for the Patriots.

“I mean, it’s cool and everything, but you really go out and you play for other things, like playing in the last game of the year and winning that game,” he said. “We put outselves in an opportunity to go one step closer to that. It’s been a crazy road but it’s definitely been kind of cool.

DURING TELEVISION timeouts, rainy-day songs were played to the big crowd. “Who’ll Stop the Rain” written by John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival, was the favorite. Fans stood and swayed to the music and sang along.

Fans in the lower bowl stood throughout the second half. Perhaps it was better to simply stand than sit in the small pond in the seat. Few in the crowd left until late in the fourth quarter.

If you saw empty seats on television, understand that the red seats at mid-level are used by fans who have tickets to VIP boxes. They could take cover and watch the game from the dry boxes.

Fans in the upper deck seemed to seek relative dryness under the stands by the concessions and watch the game on stadium televisions.

Gene Kelly’s “I’m Singing in the Rain” was played to virtually no reactions. Annie Lennox’s “Here Comes the Rain Again” seemed to get some acceptance. Not so much for B.J. Thomas’ “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head.”

TOM WELCH, son of Dwayne Thomas Welch, the three-sport star at Westbrook High, did get into the game on the offensive line, spelling one of the Bills’ regulars. Welch backs up left tackle Cordy Glenn and right tackle Erik Pears. Welch is a 310-pound third year who was drafted out of Vanderbilt in the seventh round in 2010.

Tom Welch grew up in Tennessee but his father still has friends and family in the Portland area.

Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

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